Either Beulah Petunia is about to have a calf or she’s going to BLOW UP!!!

Two weeks ago, she looked like this:

Now she looks like this!

This just happened in the last couple of days.

I was told to look at her butt. See if her vulva has changed, swollen.

I have no idea. It looks like a cow butt!!!

Beulah Petunia: “I’m going to blow up.”

I know!!!!

I’m scared, mommy.

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on September 12, 2010  

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  1. 9-12

    wasn’t it supposed to be late fall that she gives birth? I think it may be before that. I remember those days…for me, not a cow. Hope she does well giving birth.

  2. 9-12

    I’m scared for her too! :) Bless her heart

  3. 9-12

    She was with the bull for four months, so she could have gotten pregnant any time. The vet thought she was around 3 months along (at the time), maybe due mid-October to early November. But he was just guessing so this is probably close enough.

  4. 9-12

    She’s probably getting pretty close to calving. You’ll be able to tell when she’s within 8-12 hours or so when her vulva gets VERY puffy and loose looking (you’ll notice the difference, I promise), and she will also get sunken hollows just below her tailbone. (If you’re looking at her from the side, look at the part of her backbone that is furthest toward the back, where the tail starts and curves over the backend towards the ground. Then look JUST below (like only a couple of inches) that spot, and when she’s getting close, there will be a very noticable hollow, or sunken in place about 4-6″ long and 2-3″ high. This is the external bovine cue for a dilated cervix!)

    When she’s REALLY close, within an hour or two, you’ll likely see her pacing, moving toward the end of the field, lots of tail swishing, holding her tail up (like she’s gonna pee except with no pee), and possibly even occassionally kicking at her belly. She will likely lay down, then get up and move a bit, then lay down, and do this repeatedly. That’s your cue to get her into whatever pen you want her to have the baby in, because if she has the baby at the back end of the pasture, you’ll have a heck of a time getting them both back close to the house!

    Hope this gives you some more concrete info on imminent cowbirth!

  5. 9-12

    And I can’t see too well from the pics, but her vulva doesn’t look very swollen/loose yet. You’ll see that it’s noticably baggy, with a lot more wrinkles than you’re used to seeing there. I’m sure you don’t look there a lot, but…You know. :D

  6. 9-12

    ohhh I feel her pain. but miss it to…

  7. 9-12

    If anyone had told me a year ago that I would be looking at pictures of cow vulva and be excitedly awaiting the birth of its calf, I would have thought they were crazy. I am excited though and can hardly wait to see that new baby.

  8. 9-12

    No offense meant, but I sure am glad you get to be the guinea pig on all these adventures and I just wait for you to work out the kinks and then I try them! Buela looks like she is about ready to be a milk fire hydrant and start shooting milk all over the place!!! I am anxious to see how the rest of the pregnancy goes!

  9. 9-12

    How much milk do you think that thing can hold?

  10. 9-12

    She is beautiful! She does look like she’s going to pop! Can’t wait to see pics of the new baby :)

  11. 9-12

    Oh Beulah, do take care! I can hardly wait to see your calf.

  12. 9-12

    Oh poor Beulah Petunia. She looks like I felt with my pregnancies! What kind of cow is she? She has such a different look than other cows I’ve seen, so angular with her bony prominences. She has such a beautiful, expressive face! I’m sending her positive energy for her upcoming…event!

  13. 9-12

    Tina, she is a Jersey cow. The bull was a Brown Swiss.

  14. 9-12

    Poor BP. I know just how she feels. She needs an “uplift” garment for her uterus. I hope she has the calf soon as she looks like she could explode any time. Good luck with the calving Suzanne.

  15. 9-12

    Wow! The things you learns in a day at CITR! Poor BP! I feel her pain!!

  16. 9-12

    Oh my, I think it will have to be twins to use all that milk! Amazing!

  17. 9-12

    My husband, Farmer John says that she will be a new mommy any day now. He said to look at her bones on either side of her bottom and if the area around them is sucked in then she is due. Good Luck

  18. 9-12

    SOMEBODY BOIL SOME WATER!!!! I don’t know “nothing about birthin'” cow babie, but sure looks like it could be soon.

  19. 9-12

    I was gonna mention the sunken hollows at the top of the hips but a couple of people beat me to it. Goats have those as well. It’s the ligaments loosening. I think you’re gonna increase your herd by one real soon!!! Can’t wait to see the new baby!

  20. 9-12

    When she starts passing some “stuff” it will go quickly after that. You’ll also notice that she gets really “antsy”. She might pace or do something with repetitive motion, like rock. She’s calved before, so she can probably do this herself.Isn’t that good news! You still need to be watchful to make sure she is progressing once it starts. She does look uncomfortable though. Throw out the Victoria Secret, BP, you need the Playtex with the thick straps!

  21. 9-12

    Wow. I don’t blame you – I’m scared too! But how exciting! It’s so great you have people like Hlhohnholz (#4) to give such good advice. So, you’ll probably be watching every hour ’round the clock to look for the REALLY close symptoms, so you can get her where you want her to calve. I can’t wait! :happyfeet:

  22. 9-12

    Just throwing in my 2 cents as a former dairy farmer. Take it or leave it. In my opinion BP is going to need supplemental hay and some grain. Pasture is down to dirt and she is going to need a lot more to eat when she is milking. She is obviouly due an day now and is starting off the lactation a bit on the thin side. A cow needs to be knee deep in grass when she is in full milk or else be given all the high quality hay she can eat.

  23. 9-12

    Sheila, she does get hay and supplemental feed. She doesn’t depend on the pasture. (She’s the only one on it now, but it hasn’t had a chance to recover from the sheep.)

  24. 9-12


  25. 9-12

    Is she showing any type of lactation? I know we human women do as birth gets closer…I keep coming back to see if there is an update, it’ll probally be a few days yet though. She’s real pretty.

  26. 9-12

    Suzanne, my dairy farmer hubby says she looks maybe 10 or 12 hours away from freshening.
    See that second picture? The spot Hlhohnholz is talking about is between the tail and those pin bones. There’s a ligament there that you can feel normally but it will virtually disappear. You won’t be able to feel it. That’s when the birth is imminent.
    He says she’ll probably give at least 5 gals of milk per day. She’s underweight and will need a bale of good hay and about 20lbs of grain…half each end of the day.
    I hope all goes well! Good luck to both you and Beulah Petunia! :moo:

  27. 9-12

    Sweet! Possible calf by morning!
    Suzanne, it might be a good time for you to take a nap…I imagine you will want to be there for the big moment! Then again it is nice to find a surprise in the field :moo:
    BP is a beauty. If udders speak the truth, she looks like she is ready to pop.


  28. 9-12

    Just two cents from a fellow Jersey owner…BP is underweight, and she’ll likely lose more when she’s in the full flush of lactation. She needs more groceries, since the dry period is usually the only time she’ll have extra calories availble to add weight. Milk fever and ketosis are possibilities that you should be prepared for, either with a good vet who’s on call, or by having your own veterinary supplies on hand.

    My cow drank 15 gallons of warm water mixed with molasses right after she calved, and I think it helped with milk fever issues. I added a couple of heavy pours from the molasses jug and dumped warm water over top. No stirring required.

    When her udder looks like a blown up rubber glove, make sure you’re ready. Good luck with the impending birth!

  29. 9-12

    I second the molasses and warm water tip right after BP has calved. I think it works wonders to get them up on their feet seems to perk a cow up. So glad to hear she is getting hay. I know it’s none of my business and didn’t mean to sound harsh. Because you weren’t sure when she got bred she is getting a short dry period and that’s the only time a cow gets to get her condition back. She must put everything into the pail and not save enough to put meat on her bones. These are the cows you have to worry about getting milk fever. Once she calves increase her grain slowly. Too much grain too soon can also cause alot of problems. Oh, does BP have access to minerals or a mineral salt block meant for dairy cows?

  30. 9-12

    is this Chickens in the Road or Midwives on the Net?
    Best wishes for the coming event, Go BP!!

  31. 9-12

    I always look at the top of the tail on my cows. When the swelling of the other parts makes the tail do what I call the “Humpy Thing” the calf is coming very soon. HA! Just read more comments, now I know I can prove to FabHub that my observations are supported by people who know Why the Humpy Thing happens. Can’t comment on the diet though, BP will always look skinny next to our Angus – that is just a breed difference. I am sure she will be fine. Your animals are all well loved.

  32. 9-12

    Why is she sooooo skinny?

  33. 9-12

    BP has all the hay she wants every day, and she also gets some feed every day. And she has a mineral block. When we had the vet out here, I asked him if she was thin, and he said no. Jerseys do have that bony look, but that’s the breed. Beyond that, I don’t know what we can do besides give her all she will eat! (Which we do.)

  34. 9-12

    She looks great! She’s about a 3.25 on body score conditioning for dairy which is just right. I look forward to seeing her calf!

  35. 9-12

    WAHOO! Baby ‘Tunia is on the way! Good luck to BP & family. =)

  36. 9-12

    Oh my! BP looks like she is practicing to be a Macy’s parade balloon.

  37. 9-12

    The Jerseys I saw at the (Iowa) State Fair this year were bony, too. It’s a bit disturbing, but I guess it’s normal.

  38. 9-12

    I, think (like another poster said)…..

    I don’t know nuthin’ about birthin’ no cow babys!…
    ….but If my teats were swoll and blown up like BPs and a hangin’ nearly to the ground….I know the skin on my back shoulder bones would be stretched so thin you could see thru em…LOL

  39. 9-12

    I think we need to start a betting pool. When will BP calve?

    I say Tues at 8 AM.

    Do you have to fall piglets to raise? You are going to need a place to get rid of all that milk! Milk fed pork, yum. Hopefully, her calf will help out too.

  40. 9-12

    Well…I hope someone is knitting two pair of booties. Can’t wait to see the little one.

  41. 9-12

    I like the pool idea. I have an extra BBB book that would be a nice prize for the winner if you would like to do that Suzanne.

  42. 9-12

    I agree with those who’ve said that Jerseys are a bony breed. If you look at her ribs, (which you can’t see by the way because she’s pretty well fed!) you can see that she’s got a layer of flesh over the ribs, yes her hip bones stick out, and her back is a bit bony, but that’s just the way it is.

    Suzanne, you know her eating habits and what her appetite is like. Feeding her too much now, or even shortly after calving is a good way to bring on milk fever!

    I agree that some molasses in warm water after birth is a good thing, but again, don’t overdo. Yes, she’ll need her feed increased afterwords, but not right away and not too fast.

  43. 9-12

    I’d say 3am Tuesday morning. Sorry Suzanne you might have to pull and all nighter. Good luck. BP is one lucky cow.

  44. 9-12

    HOLY COW!!! :cowsleep: She sure did blow up!

    I hope she’s not like one of my cats who wanted to crawl up onto my lap and get in bed with me when she was ready to give birth…. :lol:

    Great advice here, from the sounds of it.

    I say she’s gonna blow…um, I mean “give birth” Tuesday am about 3:30 am. :shimmy:

  45. 9-12

    Oh, and Suzanne, you’d better have Frank on call….him and his strong arms could come in handy….(and have a camera handy) :devil: :eating:

  46. 9-12

    I am so grateful to read the other comments – as a non-farmer I have been worried about her looking so bony, but didn’t want to insult you by asking, because I know how devoted you are to your animals. Glad to know it’s just her breed. She has such a beautiful face – I can’t wait to see her baby(ies?)

  47. 9-12

    BP looks like any healthy Jersey cow I’ve ever seen. Everyone has their own way when taking care of their animals. Go with your own feelings and sound vet advise. Isn’t it exciting to add a new baby on your farm. I have seen many animal births over the years and everyone is like the first one all over again. I love it. From cats, dogs, cows, horses, pigs, rabbits, chickens, ducks, goats, and sheep, HOW EXCITING!!!!! BP looks well prepared for the coming birth and care of the new calf. Good luck, can not wait to see new pictures.

  48. 9-12


    Good luck, BP, hope you have twins!

    Suzanne, any possibility of doing a video of the newborn calf?


  49. 9-13

    Since it has been a few years since I was in the daily life of a dairy cow, please take this with a nice little salt block. BP looks like most Jersy cows, bony. She has bright eyes, a clean nose (no cloudy/colored mucous discharge)and she is interested in what her food provider/slave is up to taking her picture. The eyes, nose and attitude/ alertness are often a early warning signs to something not being right with a cow. She definitely looks like she could drop a calf at any time. If she were mine, the biggest concerns I would have at this time are coyotes and the possibility of a large calf. Is she close to the house so you could easily check on her at night and the dogs would alert you to coyotes prowling about? Calving is the most vunerable time for a cow and calf and she doesn’t have any herdmates to help her out. As far as the large calf: 1) on the plus side she is an aged cow (5 years). 2) She has definitely done this before (probably at least twice but most likely 3 times) so that means she is relaxed in there internally so to speak and experienced at calving. 3)If the bull is the one you took pictures of when you picked her up, he is young and young bulls tend to throw smaller calves. On the minus side: 1)The bull is a Brown Swiss and they are big boned cattle ( I chuckled at the post you did about BP being so huge, her calf has the potential to exceed her size quite easily. Brown Swiss weren’t promoted as the Big Brown Cow for nothing.) They can throw a big boned, heavy calf. 2) You don’t know if she had problems with previous calvings. If possible it would be good to have her close to the house so that she could be checked on last thing at night, first thing in the morning and any time in between when the opportunity presents itself. Odds are in favor of a routine delivery and like most cows she will probably drop the calf when nobody is around.
    I read your blog every day (check multiple times in case you posted again)and love the BP pictures and stories. You are living the life I would love to have (minus the sheep). I can’t wait to see if the calf looks like a Brown Swiss calf or a Jersey calf. Or if it turns out to look like one of the cows we had born when I was a kid. Bambi was a purebred Brown Swiss on paper but she had the head shape of a Jersey with the body type that leaned more towards a Brown Swiss. (I think the AI guy might have mixed up some semen straws of bulls of different breeds with similar names.)


  50. 9-13

    I’m going to throw my two cents in again, and then I’m going to shut up. :)

    First of all, this is not meant as a criticism, Suzanne; I’m just concerned about BP, and I know I would want someone to tell me if they thought my cow was skinny. Your readers know that you take wonderful care of your animals, so a skinny cow is not an indication that you’re doing soemthing wrong. Some cows are just harder keepers than others.

    Just a couple of points: Jerseys are scored no differently than Holsteins when doing body condition scoring, and ribs play no part in BCS. Look at these sites for BCS pictures and explanations:


    The last two sites have pictures of Jerseys (easier to see what a particular score would look like on your cow), and the first site shows Holsteins (the white of their coat makes it easier to see what you’re looking for).

    BP has almost no fat covering her thurl area (the area between her pins and her hips); it’s deeply sunken in. Her vertebrae are prominent, her short ribs are shelf-like, and her pin bones are clearly defined.

    Since she’s close to calving (I guess next Wednesday, the 22nd ;)), there’s not much you can do about adding pounds, but you can be armed for next time. Be sure that she’s somewhere that you can give her attention easily, and maybe provide some loose minerals instead of a block. I hope all goes well (and that you don’t have twins!)

  51. 9-13

    Hoping all goes well.

  52. 9-13

    I think Fri morning (Sept 17th), 5am

    Good luck, BP, I hope it’s an easy delivery.

  53. 9-13

    WOW! lots of advice. I think you will make a wonderful cow grandma. Hope the birth goes well, and that mama and calf make it fine.

    I remember all this stuff happening on the farm when I was a kid, but wouldn’t know where to start at this point.

    I know you are doing your part.

  54. 9-13

    My guess is that the calf will be born (or rather, found) 6am on Friday, Sept. 17th

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